Is the Gluten-Free Diet a Fad?

fad-tallThe bottom line is no…..but sometimes yes.

I understand the hesitancy of manufacturers and restaurants to jump on the gluten-free diet bandwagon.  They are worried that they will invest significant time and money into offering gluten-free food only to have people stop buying it after a while.

Is the gluten-free diet a fad diet?

No.  For people like me and my son who have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, it is not a fad, and the idea that it is a fad can rouse emotions.

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease which causes a person’s body to attack itself, specifically the lining of the small intestine, when gluten is consumed.  There is no cure nor are there any drugs to treat the disease.  Life-long adherence to a gluten-free diet is the only treatment.  That is not a fad.

Gluten Sensitivity is the term used for people who also have an intolerance to gluten.   They might have celiac disease but it is undiagnosed for a variety of reasons, or they react to gluten without having intestinal damage.  Either way, the symptoms are unpleasant and living a healthy life is dependent on eliminating gluten.  That is not a fad.

The number of people who are on a gluten-free diet for the above two reasons is growing.  Increasingly, doctors are diagnosing celiac patients, and people are  becoming aware of the possible affects of gluten on their bodies.

As more and more people go gluten free for health reasons, more and more people hear about it, and as a result, some people jump on the bandwagon for the wrong reasons.  That is a fad.

Is the gluten-free diet a fad?  Absolutely not!  At least not for most of us.  For some people it is, but that’s not all bad. Maybe a few of them will realize that they too feel better and are healthier on a gluten-free diet.

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  1. christine says

    Living gluten-free when your health depends on it is most certainly not a fad. That’s why the term Gluten Spectrum Disorders is now being used to include Celiac Disease, Gluten Intolerance, Gluten Sensitivity, Wheat/Rye/Barley/Oat allergy, cross reactivity and any auto-immune response to gluten consumption. There’s a shift in perception, research and evidence that non-Celiac persons on the spectrum can and do suffer some intestinal damage. So when Oprah does it as a “detox” and millions blindly follow, it’s a fad. I kinda hate it when any celeb goes on a diet but it’s been problematic for the medically necessary GF community since Bill Clinton and Oprah made it a fad.

  2. JillW says

    I shared this to FB. Thanks, Linda! Going g-f has made such a big difference for me for the reasons you mention. I’ve also encouraged my daughter to try the g-f, dairy-free diet for ADHD, but the jury is still out on that one at our house. I’d love to hear from anyone who has tried g-f for that reason and seen success or not.

  3. says

    I am one that used to think it was a fad. I know that there were medical reasons too but I thought for many it was a fad. I know now it is so much more than that. I have a gluten intolerance so I know know the importance of living without it. I also believe that even for those without an intolerance, it is good to stay away from it. Wheat is not the same wheat that our grandmothers baked bread with, it’s been mutated and changed and is NOT good for our bodies. I am off of it now and have decreased how much my family eats.

  4. says

    If any of the critics who roll their eyes and call this a fad could spend one day in my body after it has been glutened they would realize this is no fad. Or see my son’s face tic for two weeks after being glutoned…

  5. says

    We need more peoples who suffer of gluten intolerance be diagnosed because only 10% of people who suffer are. This should push a little more companies and restaurants for offering menus and gluten-free products.

  6. Cathi says

    What I wonder, is how many Celiacs also have issues with Casein, Soy, and Corn. I would love to find more products that were free of NOT just Gluten but also Casein, Soy and Corn.

  7. says

    Autoimmune disorders seem to be on the rise in general. Whether it is a “true allergy” or a “sensitivity,” if eating (or wearing) something makes you sick, avoiding it is the most straight-forward cause of action. Doctors used to only take the “true allergy,” as in hives and anaphlaxis, seriously. Now we are learning about other symptoms that can be life changing and even life threatening.

    As a kid, I was diagnosed (by a quack, traditional physicians would claim) with food allergies. Eggs, peanut butter and wheat became my go-to foods since I had to avoid uncured milk, corn, rice, beef, cabbage and a score of other things. I laugh when I read “allergy free” on something because it really means “no common allergens.” While I grew out of some of the food allergies/sensitivities, some have stayed.

    The gluten-free trend helps everyone with food intolerances because it has brought the issue into mainstream consciousness. When I ask, “does this contain rice?” I don’t get an argument over whether it is a serious request. I cannot eat rice. Restaurants are more forthcoming with ingredients and you don’t have to show off an epi-pen to get someone to check for you.

  8. Susan B. Kissell says

    I have a self-diagnosed gluten sensitivity. I originally started going g-f to lose belly fat. In doing so, I found that my restless legs were cured and I have tested it by going on and off gluten and, of course, inadvertently consuming some. No wheat = no restless legs for me. Also, I had thought I was lactose intolerant but find that if I don’t eat gluten, I can drink regular milk with no ill effects. These two results are enough to validate my diagnosis.
    I have never read about either of these results in any of the literature. Have you head this from other people?
    Thank you for this great newsletter (I am a new subscriber).

    • says

      For people with celiac disease, the intestinal damage can cause lactose intolerance. Once on a gluten-free diet, that clears up for many people. Gluten can affect our bodies in so many ways. I don’t recall off hand anyone having problems with restless legs cleared up, but it doesn’t surprise me.

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